To be clear, Mark Traphagen isn’t breaking up with Google Plus. He’s still spends time on the social media site, and he still sees some benefits. However, he is definitely spending more time with other channels.
“Like the kids say on Facebook ‘It’s complicated,’ ” Traphagen said.
As long as I have known Traphagen, senior director of online marketing at Stone Temple Consulting, he’s been singing the praises of Google Plus. As an early adopter, Traphagen studied the channel and evolved into an expert who used the platform to build a name for himself in the crowded social media speaker and consultancy field.
So it caught my attention when Traphagen, of Durham, posted this on Twitter: “Want a measure of how far Google+ has fallen off the social media marketing radar?”
A link in the tweet led to a Google Plus posting showing the list of “Table Talk” topics at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, which, according to Traphagen, is “arguably the largest and most important social media marketing conference in the U.S.”
While the conference held last week did include a session on Google Plus, it was excluded on the list of 20 lunchtime discussion topics that notably included Facebook advertising, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
For Traphagen, the list is just another sign that Google Plus as a social media platform is peaking – at least for now.
“The perception (that it’s a ghost town) has become pretty well entrenched in many people’s minds,” he said. “At some point, perception becomes reality.”
According to statistics porthole Statista, Facebook has 1.4 billion active monthly users, Google Plus has 300 million and Twitter has 288 million.
It’s hard to compare the channels using those self-reported numbers, Traphagen said, but Stone Temple Consulting will be coming out with a study of Google Plus profiles that indicates the number of profiles that post publicly is very small, Traphagen said.
For Traphagen, the acceptance that Google Plus’s active users are low compared to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, translates into him spending more time on those channels, he said.
“I need to diversify,” he said.
For small-business owners, the shift should translate into setting priorities based on budget and manpower. In general, owners should find the social media channel that their customers are using, and go there.
Businesses, however, can still benefit from Google Plus, Traphagen said.
Small businesses should still maintain a verified page that is connected to search engine opportunities and appearances on Google products, such as Maps and Search.
While Google Plus active users may be low compared to other channels, many people will log on and stay logged on to the social media site, he said.
“If somebody follows you on Google Plus, if they are searching while logged in, that post can get elevated in their search,” he said.